Tuesday, 8/22/17

  1. Keep learning
  2. Republican Workers Party
  3. Pas d’ennemis à gauche
  4. Pussilanimous Mizzou pays a price
  5. Kicking the dog
  6. He says what’s in his heart
  7. St. Louis sets itself up for a fall
  8. ACLU getting right with history

1

I meet many people who could not write the papers they wrote as seniors in college.

This frightens me.

Why?

We may be the first generation ever to have fifty year olds less well read than the twenty-two year old version of that person. So many of us are skilled at our professions, but when it comes to the world around us that is outside our jobs we have become ignorant.

We should keep learning, but I say that if you agree with me that there are (at least) three implications to this truth.

First, as citizens in a Republic, we must read books about the issues that face our world … Don’t make excuses. A blog post is not a book.

Second, read a variety of news sources. Our most excellent pastor, Father Richard, is always telling us to read foreign papers. Get a paper that disagrees with you. Get a paper from two other continents. Read. Think. Process. You must read something from India, sub-Saharan Africa, and China or you are missing the news from the area of the world where the future is being born.

Third, we must grow as believers. If you have a question about the faith, get a book and read it. Ask hard questions without assuming the answers. It is better to disbelieve in God honestly than to pretend to believe in God, because you hide from questions. The love of wisdom does not assume outcomes, but pursues wisdom. Do it.

(John Mark N. Reynolds)

2

Concluding an article on how neither major political party is chock-full of avid, across-the-board supporters, Matthew Walther writes:

Mitch McConnell does not strike me as a man who suffers from a surfeit of principle. It is as easy to imagine him actually caring about libertarian economics — his own personal wealth notwithstanding — as it is to picture him in lipstick and high heels. He does, however, seem to be reasonably keen on winning elections. Ditto Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is about as ideologically committed to Human Rights Campaign talking points as a vulture is to organic produce. Both men could try to move their parties closer to that sweet spot in the upper left-hand corner where swing voters reside.

It’s worth a try anyway. The only thing they have to lose is their jobs.

The cornerss he alludes to are those of the graph in this Wall Street Journal article by George Mason University law professor F.H. Buckley, which describes the desiderata thus:

The sweet spot in American politics is thus the upper-left quadrant of the double majority: economic liberals and social conservatives. It’s the place where presidential elections are won, and the winner is usually going to be the candidate who’s won’t touch Social Security and who promises to nominate judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia. In other words—Donald Trump. Mr. Drutman labeled such voters populists, but I prefer the term that Mr. Trump himself has applied to them: the Republican “workers party.” They constituted nearly 30% of voters in 2016 and they split 3 to 1 for Mr. Trump.

3

As the New York Daily News reported, among antifa’s victims were journalists:

Taylor Lorenz of The Hill was punched in the face by an antifa for recording a fight between the two groups; she tweeted that her assaulter told her not to “snitch, media bitch.” A videographer from Richmond’s WTVR covering a counter-protest got a concussion from head blows with a stick.

In addition, Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times tweeted from Charlottesville:

The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding “antifa” beating white nationalists being led out of the park.

Nor is Charlottesville the only place that antifa activists have crossed the line. Peter Beinart has a piece in this month’s Atlantic magazine noting that rioting by antifa forces forced University of California at Berkeley officials to cancel speeches by Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopolous earlier this year.

In April, threats by antifa supporters convinced the Portland, Ore., police department that they couldn’t guarantee security for the annual Rose Festival parade. The parade’s sin? Allowing the local Republican party to have Trump supporters march under the GOP banner in the parade. The parade was canceled, to the delight of many in the hob-nailed boot Left that makes Portland, well, such a special place.

But most of this has been swiftly swept under the rug or underreported by liberals and much of the mainstream media …

Oren Segal, the director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, categorically told CNN last week:

There is violence on the left. The anti-fascists engage with those they oppose through physical confrontation. And that is a problem. That is an extremist’s tactic. There is also bigotry on the left.

I would only add that if George Orwell were with us today, he would probably say that there is willful blindness on the left.

(John Fund)

As a general rule, I’d say the Antifa appears when some “conservative” group engages in provocation of some sort — and I do consider Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopolous provocateurs. I gave up on Coulter years ago (9/11 broke something human in her, turning her into a rage-monkey) and the only Milo thing I ever watched all the way through was a sympathetic interview with the owners of Northern Indiana’s besieged Memories Pizza.

But the Antifa or kindred spirits also disrupted an appearance by Charles Murray, whose research is perfectly legitimate even if it lends itself to misuse by racists — abusis non tollit usis. And then there’s that Portland vignette, which sounds indefensible.

So there’s a violent extremist problem on both sides. The horror of Republicans at the alt-Right and neo-Nazis has been widespread, but nobody has reported enough on the counter-violence to put any heat on Democrats to denounce.

4

One thinks of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests as being largely tools for left-leaning journalists and activist groups, doesn’t one?

But that ain’t necessarily so. Jillian Kay Melchior, an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal, decided to find out how the University of Missouri’s appeasement of far-left misbehavior had worked out for it:

Thousands of pages of emails I obtained through the Missouri Freedom of Information Act show that many alumni and other supporters were disgusted with administrators’ feeble response to the disruptions. Like Mr. Vaughn, many promised they’d stop attending athletic events. Others vowed they’d never send their children or grandchildren to the university. It now appears many of them have made good on those promises.

Donors, parents, alumni, sports fans and prospective students raged against the administration’s caving in. “At breakfast this morning, my wife and I agreed that MU is NOT a school we would even consider for our three children,” wrote Victor Wirtz, a 1978 alum, adding that the university “has devolved into the Berkeley of the Midwest.”

As classes begin this week, freshmen enrollment is down 35% since the protests, according to the latest numbers the university has publicly released. Mizzou is beginning the year with the smallest incoming class since 1999. Overall enrollment is down by more than 2,000 students, to 33,200. The campus has taken seven dormitories out of service.

(Mizzou Pays a Price for Appeasing the Left) I’ve elided reminders of what happened to prompt this, but maybe the name “Melissa Click” will ring a bell or populate a Google search.

5

One of Rod Dreher’s thoughtful progressive readers, Franklin Evans, writes a bill of indictment of the status quo from the people he cares about. Excerpt:

I have friends in the fight who rail against being told to be patient, to be tolerant, to accept incremental changes and improvements, and I despair of their getting their heads out of their hearts and seeing the rational reality of how and why society and culture is just not going to change in a matter of days, months or years without some form of violent revolution… that being, quod erat demonstrandum throughout human history, at best a temporary “solution”.

Rod responds with some grievances of the kinds of people who put Donald Trump in office. Excerpt:

Their lives are hard and getting harder. They aren’t sure who we are as Americans anymore, or what America means. The world feels that it’s coming apart — and they are being blamed for it because of their race, their religion, their politics. They know that exhortations to “celebrate diversity” not only doesn’t include people like them, but also entails them learning to feel shame over their culture. They get anxious and defensive, and are prone to believing the worst about those not like them. The things they were taught to believe about fair play, and judging people not by the color of their skin, or their wealth, or their religion, and so forth? They are coming to believe that those things are really lies used by liberals running institutions to disempower and dispossess people like them.

We need more respectful exchanges like this, but neither is very hopeful about any breakthroughs.

Nor am I. I can’t complain a bit about my financial circumstances, but I worry particularly about the daggers drawn on the left, intending assassination of our traditional and Constitutional privilege for the free exercise of religion (which they think is subordinate to the right of everyone to have every manner of consensual adult eroticism universally affirmed). They don’t intend to live and let live, it seems. As Rod’s blog title says “They Want Revenge.”

The irony in the grievances of the Trump electorate is that guys like Trump — the phalanx of sharp operators in the world — are far more responsible for their plight than are immigrants or racial minorities. They’re kicking the dog when the problem is a lousy day at work.

6

Jerry Falwell, Jr., in response to a question about his continued support of Trump after yet another foot-in-mouth episode, said “One of the reasons I supported him is that he doesn’t say what’s politically correct. He says what’s in his heart, what he believes.”

Indeed.

7

Can Christian churches and organizations require employees, from teachers to ministers, to uphold Christian teaching in word and deed? Not in St. Louis, Missouri, where earlier this year the abortion lobby muscled through a city ordinance that directly attacks the freedoms of religion, speech, and association. Although it was promoted as an anti-discrimination measure, the actual purpose of the law is to destroy the self-government of religious and pro-life organizations.

Megan Green, the original sponsor of the ordinance, has confirmed these consequences, declaring that “We’re not saying the Archdiocese and the others can’t have their views. . . . We’re saying they can’t impose them on others in housing or employment.” …

The St. Louis law is one manifestation of a broader effort to pervert the purpose of anti-discrimination law, changing it from a tool used to protect minority groups from material harm (i.e., being locked out of essential goods and services) into a weapon used to destroy religious liberty. David French of National Review has noted that proponents of a similar measure in California are open about their desire to attack Christian organizations. While the supporters of the St. Louis law declined to provide actual examples of the behavior they wanted to prohibit, the supporters of the California bill have specifically targeted “Christian organizations applying orthodox Christian theology to employees who voluntarily work at the institution.”

There is a pattern to these assaults on the freedom of individuals and groups to live authentically in accordance with their beliefs. The first step is to present a minor or even hypothetical problem as one of discrimination. The second is to insist on combatting this “discrimination” by using the massive government power established to break segregation, regardless of infringements on the freedoms of religion, speech and association. The third step is to use the borrowed moral authority of the civil rights movement to accuse any nonconformists of being bigots seeking a “license to discriminate,” and to compare them to segregationists. Finally, objections to this unnecessary expansion of anti-discrimination law are dismissed by appeal to a slippery slope, at the bottom of which is a return to segregation.

(Nathanael Blake, St. Louis’s Unholy War on Religious Liberty)

St, Louis almost certainly will lose the legal challenges to this law. Will Megan Green suffer disgrace and electoral defeat, or is this sort of thing her constituents’ wish?

8

It is high time that the ACLU moved onto the right side of History and abandoned the “narrow reading” of the First Amendment that is the result of 50 years of unanimous Supreme Court precedent. In lieu, it must focus on working toward more diverse and productive ends, such as giving Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump the robust censorship powers that they so richly and urgently deserve. The United States federal government is now run at every level by Republicans. So, indeed, are the lion’s share of the governors’ mansions, statehouses, and localities. If the ACLU really knuckles down, it can ensure that these figures — and not pernicious “neutral” principle — determine the edges and contours of America’s civil society.

Don’t bore me with your objections. Park is a smart woman, and she knows what “hate” is. We all do. Hate is hate. It is not speech; it’s hate. Sometimes hate is violence, even when no action is attached. How do I know, you might ask? I know because hate is, by definition, hateful, and that means it’s not speech. And why isn’t it speech? Because it’s hate, and hate isn’t speech. This is basic common sense, rejected only by haters.

(Charles C.W Cooke)

* * * * *

Gosh! Did you see what President Donald Trump is up to today? How utterly fascinating he is! I, a grown man, weep with envy when I look upon Melania! He fills my every thought! He surely doesn’t need to start any more stupid wars to get my undivided attention! No siree!

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

About readerjohn

I am a retired lawyer and an Orthodox Christian, living in a collapsing civilization, the modern West. There are things I'll miss when it's gone. There are others I won't. That it is collapsing is partly due to calculated subversion, summarized by the moniker "deathworks." This blog is now dedicated to exposing and warring against those deathwork - without ceasing to spread a little light.
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